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Econet empowers women-owned businesses

26 January 2024

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe on Friday hosted a first-of-its-kind “Meet the Buyer” breakfast meeting for women in business, underlining the listed company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The event held in Harare was hosted in partnership with the Women-Owned Business Trust (WOBT).

It was attended by over 100 female entrepreneurs and women in business, some of whom exhibited their products and services.

Also in attendance was the Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Adler Aristilde and Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Yamanaka Shinichi.

Econet — which signed a Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SDI) partnership agreement with the WOBT in April last year — was represented by some of its senior executives, led by deputy chief executive Mr Roy Chimanikire.

“Before our Supplier Diversity and Inclusion (SDI) partnership with the Women OwnedBusiness Trust (WOBT), Econet allocated approximately 2,5 percent of its expenditure to women-owned businesses. 

“However, in the nine months leading up to December 31, 2023, this figure more than doubled,” Mr Chimanikire said, adding that Econet was committed to ramping up supply chain expenditure on women-led businesses.

Mr Aristilde, who was the guest of honour, expressed his admiration for Econet’s efforts in providing a platform for women-led businesses to flourish, acknowledging the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.

“Female entrepreneurs face unique barriers, such as lack of access to capital and they are (more) likely to be rejected or lose money than their male counterparts. 

“I hope that this meeting will help to make women more ambitious and create new business partnerships,” he said. 

He expressed hope that the event would inspire increased ambition among women and foster new business partnerships. 

Mr Chimanikire said Econet was proud of the progress it had made in empowering women, particularly among its own workforce, and was determined to stay the course. 

“Our goal is to ensure women are supported, valued, and respected across our organisation. 

“We have been accelerating efforts to advance gender balance in our company, including gender-balanced leadership,” he added. 

“As a result, the proportion of women in managerial positions has increased, including among our most senior executives.” 

Several women-owned businesses, including Phillips Law, MajorCon Civils, Pawprint Protective Gear, City Cleaning Services, Padsor Enterprises and Cooper & Jones, got the opportunity to pitch their business proposals to Econet during the event. 

WOBT chairperson and Securico Security founder Dr Divine Ndhlukula commended Econet for its support.